Latinos are receiving high school diplomas more than ever before, continuing a trend to tighten the achievement gap. The Obama administration touted several of its programs as instrumental in the increase.
Almost eight-in-ten (77.8 percent) of Hispanic students in the 2014-2015 academic year graduated from high school; this is a 6.6 percent jump since 2010, according to figures released by the White House.
For the fifth year in a row, the National Center for Education Statistics has reported high school graduation rates across the U.S. have climbed. About 79 percent of students graduated from high school in the 2010-2011 academic year; it went up to 83.2 percent in 2015.
Cecilia Muñoz, the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, said programs such as Race to the Top and the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act have worked to target non-White groups in the U.S. to shrink the achievement gap.
Race to the Top rewards states that adopt policies that improve student outcomes through the recruitment of high-quality teachers, better measurement standards and programs to prepare students for college. Every Student Succeeds has looked to tackle the bottom 5 percent of schools and worked to increase its outcomes.
Muñoz said the Department of Education has focused resources on targeting English-language learners, that that could contribute to the higher graduation rates among Latino high school students.
The 2014-2015 academic year saw more than an 8 percent jump in high school graduation rates for ESL students, the largest jump out of all groups researched.
Along with the growing high school graduation rate, Latinos are dropping out of high school in smaller numbers. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino drop out rates peaked in 1995 at 35 percent, which was more than twice the rate of Black students. By the 2013-2014 academic year, Latino high school dropout rates fell to 12 percent. Hispanic students still have the highest high school dropout rate out of any subgroup in the U.S.